Re: Participation Agreement
From: mbarrett (
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 19:04:08 -0700 (PDT)
I see a couple of possible problems in including specific "cohousing requirements" into condo bylaws as David reports. 1) Lenders such as banks, and insurance companies are generally very conservative and if they should get to read "strange" stuff they may turn you down. 2) Rquirements are essentially meaningless unless they are enforceable i.e. backed up by sanctions. Are you going to evict non-compliant residents - or what? We have recently drafted a document titled "Expectations, Hopes and Opportunities" to give to prospective residents which at least makes clear what we expect and hope for, though without any legal muscle.

Michael Barrett
Shadowlake Village,
Blacksburg, VA - from whence last weekend about 20 adults and 22 children went camping together for two nights in a State Park in the Appalachian Mountains.

------ Original Message ----- From: "David Heimann" <heimann [at]>
To: <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2007 9:34 PM
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Participation Agreement


 We have a lot of what's included in this agreement in our bylaws,
i.e., it is required rather than voluntary.

 A buyer must go through an orientation and sign a statement that
they have done so, understand what the community is about, and agree to
abide by the condo docs (which include a good amount of cohousing-oriented

 With respect to (1) and (3), residents are *required* to
participate in General Meetings and committee meetings, and to participate
in the maintenance of the property (i.e., a work requirement).

 This probably has to be done during development and be
incorporated into the condo docs.  At least that's what we did.

 All the best in incorporating this participation!

David Heimann
Jamaica Plain Cohousing

Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 09:50:57 -0700
From: Joani Blank <joani [at]>
Subject: [C-L]_ Participation Agreement
To: cohousing-l [at]
Message-ID: < [at]>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

In general I think that ya' gotta get people to buy in at the very
beginning to the notion that the residents--all of them, not just
owners--agree to take responsibility for both managing and
maintaining the community.  Some communities have a participation
agreement.  I'm attaching ours (Swan's Market Cohousing, Oakland, CA)
that is technically voluntary, but there is an expectation that
people will sign it.

It's better if it is presented to people before ar at the time they
become members of the group, way before construction.  (I was
"required" to sign it when I first joined the group at Doyle Street
Cohousing where I used to live, before that group realized that they
couldn't legally make it mandatory.)  I initiated having one at
Swan's Market where I live now after we had lived here a year or two,
and not everyone signed it, though most did.    (I've posted about
this before, and asked people to contact me to have me send it to
them, but since it is short, I'm appending it here.)

Swan's Market Cohousing

Participation Agreement

[Note: Signing this agreement is voluntary, and it is not legally binding]

I live (or plan to live) in the Swan's Market Cohousing community.  I
am aware of the nature, goals, character and history of Swan's Market
Cohousing and I intend to maintain and enhance its sense of community
and cooperation.

If I lease or sell my unit, my tenant(s) or buyer(s) will be offered
an orientation and encouraged to sign this participation agreement. I
support the Community's aim of cooperative living; I agree to
participate in activities of the Community on a regular basis, as follows:

1. Management of our community through the Homeowners Association. I
will play an ongoing role in the Association (and, if an owner, I
will  serve on the Board of Directors). I understand that if I want
to have a say in the decision-making process, it is my responsibility
to participate in Association meetings.

2. Preparation of common meals. I understand that every adult
resident (18 or older) shares equally in the preparation and/or
clean-up of common meals on a rotating basis.  I intend to do my
share, regardless of how frequently I sign up to eat those meals.

3. Maintenance and improvement of the community property. Swan's
Market cohousing  self-manages and maintains its property.  In order
to keep our property in the best condition possible, I agree to do my
share of the ongoing maintenance of the common areas

Signed:_________________________________  Unit #_________


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